RG 261 – The Open Secret to Scaling Your Business – w/ Mike Simmons
From making career switches to scaling a business, Mike Simmons shares some of the best and worst moments of his journey in this week’s episode. Join us as we provide some valuable insight into letting go of irrational fears, paving your way into the world of entrepreneurship, and scaling a business to where it needs to be.
Mike Simmons is a real estate investor, public speaker, co-owner of the company Return on Investments, and the producer and host of the podcast Just Real Estate. Like many other late bloomer entrepreneurs, Mike didn’t get into real estate until he was in his mid-30s. Despite having a good income in his 20s, he realized that he couldn’t retire unless he put his money into investments, which eventually lead him to the world of real estate investing.
But in spite of making the leap, Mike held onto this irrational fear of being judged by his friends and family for investing in real estate—until he and his wife started gaining success. A lot of us can relate to this; having irrational fears, being hesitant to start because of those fears, and ultimately letting those fears get to our heads. Mike has first-hand experience dealing with that, and his story may be just the thing to help you get started.
Mike is also a best-selling author, having written the book Level Jumping wherein he educates others on how to scale their business. In this episode, Mike gives us a rundown on the most important steps or strategies in successful scaling, including documenting your processes, knowing your numbers, and building a team sooner rather than later.
- Surround yourself with people who can motivate you to raise your game.
- Don’t let irrational fears hold you back from starting your path to success.
- Being an operator is very different from being a leader.
- Other people won’t care as much for your business as you do.
- Chances are, you have to start building a team sooner than later.
- The first person you hire is for the job you suck at the most.
Be Bold, Be Brave and Go Give Life a Crack!
Listen to Podcast
Mike Simmons (00:00):
A lot of entrepreneurs are control freaks. So not only do we not, we’re not great leaders. Naturally. We want to do it. We think we can do it better than anybody else. So our inclination is to get back in the trenches and start doing the work. And we have to resist that. We have to understand that 80% of us is good enough. You don’t need to find someone who’s exactly like you. And I talk about this in my book. If you were, if your concern is that the people you hire won’t care as much about the company as you do. Let me tell you something. They won’t, they can’t, it’s not possible. It’s like saying I’m going to hire a babysitter for my kid, but I’m worried. They won’t love my kid as much as I do. They won’t, they can’t it’s it’s your kid, but you just have to hope that they’ll take care of them well enough to keep them happy and safe and they’ll do 80% of the job you would do. Right.
Reed Goossens (00:57):
Welcome to investing in the U S a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the U S market join Reed. As he interviews go getters risk takers and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing
Reed Goossens (01:17):
G’day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the U S podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host, Rick. Goossens good as always every with us on the show. Now, I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States. When it comes to real estate, investing, business, investing, and entrepreneurship, each show, I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created the businesses here in the U S how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cashflow, and ultimately create extraordinary lives for themselves and their families. Life by design. As I like to say, hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.
Reed Goossens (02:04):
If these guys can do it. So can you now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like to show the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes, and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show, every podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google play, but you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to Reed goossens.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts, or you can see my ugly mug or the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough of me let’s get cracking and into today’s show.
Reed Goossens (02:51):
Speaking with Mike Simmons. Mike is a real estate investor podcast, host best-selling author, and a public speaker who shared the stage with one of my favorite models. Gary V or Gary Vaynerchuk. Mike is a co-owner of the wholesaling company return on investments. He’s the producer and host of the really popular podcast show called just real estate, which I’ve had a pleasure of being on. He’s a partner in seven figure flipping, which is the nation’s leading and largest real estate mastermind. And it’s opposite off Mike owned 16 rental properties, and he’d completed last year, get this over 80 fix and flips or annual wholesales in just 2019 alone. Pretty impressive stuff. Mike has recently wrote the book, title level, jumping, how he grew his business to over a million dollars in profits in just 12 months, where he tells his stories about how to scale a business successfully. I’m really pumped and excited to have him on the show today to share his incredible knowledge and he’s incredible journey, but nothing to me. Let’s get him out here, get, Hey, Mike, welcome to the show. Hey
Mike Simmons (03:48):
Mate. Hey, good day. I appreciate you having me. Thank you. I like sprinkling that in. I was on your show and I’m sure they know. And are you on my show? I’m sorry. And uh, I like, uh, I, I’m gonna ma I’m gonna imitate that accent every once in a while. So forgive me. I wish I could say that it didn’t sound weird.
Reed Goossens (04:05):
I, I, you know, when the show first started, I actually tried to get people to give me their best Australian accent impression, but too many people were embarrassed. And so I had to cut that from the show. That’s a, it’s a fun thing though, is that the listen to the other, they’re going to be listening to [inaudible] rewind back and listen to all those early episodes. I’d really tried it as a thing and it just failed.
Mike Simmons (04:25):
All right. Well, good. I, um, I’m I’m game. Your awesome. Awesome.
Reed Goossens (04:29):
Well, Mike, before we dive into today’s tidbits and you know, best, best stuff we want to talk about, you were watching the clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar as a kid.
Mike Simmons (04:38):
Okay. So the first ever dollar, uh, this is not, this is going to sound weird and a little bit strange, but, uh, the first dollar I ever made as a little kid, I was, I was, uh, it was like third grade, I believe. And, uh, my next door neighbor used to pay me $5 a day to clean up dog droppings. Like that was literally my first entrepreneurial gig as a kid is picking up her dog droppings and getting paid $5 every time I did it. So that was my first dollar. Oh, I still pick up my dogs today and it’s, it’s disgusting
Reed Goossens (05:18):
Of the thing. And my mom was like, get out and walk through, like, I don’t want to walk the dog. You have to walk the dog.
Mike Simmons (05:24):
Yeah. So now I got paid for it. So maybe I’ve gotten dumber because I do it for free. Now again, I know.
Reed Goossens (05:30):
Well, my walk us through the journey of, of your background and obviously, you know, you’re very successful today, but you, you have a lot of years of experience of building businesses, but I’m sure he just didn’t fall into that. So maybe rewind it and give us a little bit of detail in there.
Mike Simmons (05:44):
Yeah, for sure. Um, so, you know, you talked about the book, um, how do I built my company to over a million dollars in one year that was like a seven year overnight success, as they say, uh, and honestly just getting started real estate, getting started as an entrepreneur. I didn’t do until I was in my mid to late thirties. So I spent my early part of my life working for companies. My first job was at ups. I was loading trucks and by 24 I had ruined my back to the point that I couldn’t get out of bed every day, unless I went to the chiropractor three times a week, it took that amount of work on my back just to get me out of bed. And I was 24 years old. It’s very, you know, and I looked around and said, I can’t retire from here.
Mike Simmons (06:23):
I can barely get up in the mornings. Like, there’s no way I can do this until I retired. So I left there, I’m in Michigan. That’s where I live. And I went into the automotive industry, which is what most people do in Michigan. So one of the automotive industry working there for awhile and we had sort of unsatisfied. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of job security at the time because I had started working for ups right out of the gate after high school. I didn’t have a degree. I figured when I got my job at ups, like I’m set, it’s a union job and it’s a great company and I’ll, I’ll be set for life. So I didn’t get my degree. And then when I got out of ups and went back to work, uh, for the automotive industry, I realized, boy, I am very unmarketable.
Mike Simmons (07:01):
If I were to lose my job, like, I don’t know if I would hire me, why would I hire me? I have no, no education or very little experience. So I went back to college as an adult with kids to two kids and a full-time job and a house and a wife. I went back to work and got my degree and worked my butt off and got my degree. Finally got my degree. And I thought, this is it. I’ve, I’ve sort of supercharged my career. And, uh, immediately upon getting my degree, I quit my job and got a better job. I doubled my income and I’m like, this is it. Um, I’m on the corporate ladder. This is all I ever wanted out of life. And I started going down that corporate route and the people’s whose job that I was trying to eventually get, like the people who I said, that’s, that’s the job I want in this company.
Mike Simmons (07:42):
As I got to know them better and work with them, they were miserable. They hated their job and they hated their life. They hated the wife to hated the husband. He had their kids, like it was all negative. And I could see that they were just like under so much stress and they were so unhappy that I thought, this is what I’m trying to work. Like, this is what I’m aspiring to do is have that job of that person who hates everything about their job. And so I started getting a little bit, honestly, kind of desperate. Like not that I needed to do anything cause I had a good paying job and I, I, I had a good career, but I started getting desperate from the standpoint of, oh, I got 20 more years of this. Like, what am I going to do? This doesn’t seem like a good 20 years all about embark on.
Mike Simmons (08:21):
So I started looking at how I could start making my money and not savings that I had worked for me. How can I invest my money? And my first thought was the stock market. Like I should, I should get into day trading. I should, I should get savvy with the stock market. And as I researched that path and started looking at how to invest in stocks, the stock market, I realized I don’t like this either like this isn’t making me happy. I can’t even stay focused. It’s so boring. But as I was investigating investment vehicles and in Googling how to invest for retirement, I hit real estate. Finally, I hit something that I really was interested in and it kept my interest and learning about it. Wasn’t a chore like the stock market was. So I started learning and learning. And that was in 2003.
Mike Simmons (09:05):
I didn’t buy my first house until 2008. Why didn’t I buy my first house till 2008? You asked, I’ll tell you why I did what a lot of people do. And I suspect the people listening to this podcast. Some people are doing it right now and they need to be sort of shaken out of this. I told myself that I was being diligent and I was being prudent and I was educating myself and I was making sure that I knew what I was doing before I jumped into it. And that is valid for a while, but it comes a point where you’re procrastinating. You’re afraid you’re putting it off. You’re afraid of what people think. You’re afraid of failure. You’re afraid of success. You’re afraid of losing money. You’re afraid. You’re afraid your faith. And what eventually occurred to me was I can’t use after five years, I can’t use the excuse that I’m educating myself.
Mike Simmons (09:50):
What am I a doctor? I’m trying to educate myself. But really all I’m doing is putting off, getting started because if I don’t get started, I haven’t failed. Right? And I think a lot of people kind of do this either consciously or subconsciously. They don’t do the things they know they need to do to move forward and become successful. And whatever success means to you. Because if you don’t start, you don’t fail and there’s no fear in not starting. And so I was raised just to kind of rewind a little bit. My dad was a Marine. He was in Vietnam and he was a very stereotypical Marine from that era. And, uh, he was tough on us and, and what he didn’t tolerate was unwrap irrational fear. He just didn’t right. When I was a little kid, I was afraid of playing baseball and he wanted me to play baseball and I kind of wanted to play baseball.
Mike Simmons (10:39):
But my brother who was also gonna play was a year older than me. And he wasn’t in like a league a little bit above where I should have been for my age, but because he didn’t want to have to go to two different practices and two different games. He said, you’re going to go up a level and you’re going to be on that team. And I was scared to death and I didn’t want to do it, but he just, he just doesn’t let, he doesn’t let irrational fear getting assault. What I realized was after these five years of procrastinating was I was just afraid. And it was a very uncomfortable, ugly feeling. Cause I don’t live my life as, as someone who’s typically afraid, but I was making excuses. And I was, I was telling myself that I was being responsible by trying to learn as much as I can, but I learned plenty to get started.
Mike Simmons (11:17):
So once I kind of got really disgusted with myself and how much I was putting it off, what I really wanted to do, I dove in and started making offers. And almost right away, I got a property under contract and I eventually flipped it and I made tons of mistakes. But at the end of the day, this is 2008 now. Right? And I’m in Michigan that I’m not in California or one of these markets where prices are really, really high. So the house I bought, it was a $40,000 purchase price. And I spent $15,000 on rehab and I made $15,000, not bad, not a bad return for that kind of investment. Right. And like I said, I made tons of mistakes. I probably should made closer to $20,000. But you know, I screwed up a couple of a couple of things and new lessons learned, but I made $15,000 and it was, it was proof proof of concept for me.
Mike Simmons (12:01):
And by the way, for everyone listening the whole five years that I was educating myself, that first deal, I learned way more than I had learned for the last five years because I actually did it. Right, right. Like you can read a book about swimming, but until you get in the pool and start swimming, you just don’t know what it feels like to be wet. And I finally felt what it was like to swim and get wet. And in that first deal, and by the way, you know, I don’t can’t remember we had this conversation when you were on my show, but I’m really interested in whether or not entrepreneurs are born entrepreneurs or whether or not they become an entrepreneur. It’s an interesting question. And I think for me, the answer was I was a born entrepreneur, but I was sorta like, I was a born piano prodigy, but I had never been shown a piano before.
Mike Simmons (12:45):
So when I did that first deal, I realized, oh my goodness, all of these career paths that I had went down and all these things I tried that made me unhappy and I didn’t want to do it’s because I’m an entrepreneur. And when I did that first deal, I was like a light went off in my head and a fire got ignited inside of me. And I’m like, this is what I want to do. And I, I went for it and you know, it, as far as that getting to a million hours in a year, it took me about six or seven years to do that because I spent six or seven years making every mistake, doing everything wrong, taking one step forward, just take two steps back. And so there was a lot of that like growth in, in growing pains that went on for, for like six years or so before.
Mike Simmons (13:23):
I kind of figured things out a little bit and got, you know, we can talk about it. But the bottom line is I surrounded myself with better people. I was surrounding myself with naysayers and people who also had limited beliefs and limited mindsets and kind of very, very small like views of what was possible. When I started surrounding myself with people who had much bigger businesses than me who had done much more than I had. And they expected more from themselves and the people around them by my world absolutely exploded. And that, that made all the difference for me. And I resisted it for a while because my mindset was, I don’t need help. I don’t need to surround myself with successful people. Like, you know what, if I have a question, I’ll Google it. Right. That’s it right. It’s just total ignorance. And like really like limited mindset. Like I just thought I’ll figure everything. I don’t need any help. Alyssa, man, I don’t care. What if it use a sports analogy, use your favorite sports star. Like they have a coach and they have a coach for a reason and a coach makes them better. And they surround themselves with people by the way, who are counting on them, expect a lot from them and help them raise their game. And I think that nothing’s different in business. It’s just people don’t apply that same philosophy. Well,
Reed Goossens (14:35):
Firstly, I want to rewind back and just say kudos to you, man, for going back to uni, uh, with two kids and you know, not even starting your entrepreneurial path until you’re in your mid to late thirties. So all those people sitting out there at 26, 27, 28, even 30, basically, it’s too late. It’s not too late. Like I think your prime example of someone who’s can, can like an old dog, you can trick an old, teach, an old dog, new tricks, you know, like you, you, you are constantly trying to push your boundaries and, and I think it’s really, really admirable that you went back and achieved what you achieved. What did you actually go back and study when you went back to uni?
Mike Simmons (15:12):
Uh, I, it was, I was getting my, a degree in business business administration. Got it, got it. Got it. Cool. And then
Reed Goossens (15:18):
I guess it tells me if, and correct me if I’m wrong, that there was a lot of fear initially of trying to get over that first. What if you know, the, the barrier of something’s going to file and I can’t live with that failure today and it took you five years or longer to, to really take that leap of faith. Do you wanna talk a little bit about that? Because I think that that’s, I know we’re talking about it a bit in the green room. That’s what you’re really passionate about getting off your and actually doing something right?
Mike Simmons (15:42):
Yeah, I do. I, I have empathy for people who are struggling to get started, but I don’t have tolerance for it because I get it. I was there, but I know what I did not need at that time was someone empathizing with me. I needed someone to hold up a mirror and say, is this who you want to be? The scared little person? And that’s what it is. So for me, I I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you a quick story. That’ll really articulate how afraid I was. I think my biggest fear wasn’t losing money. It was my fear was of failing and looking stupid to my friends and family, honestly. And I don’t think that makes me unique. I think that’s a lot of people, but here’s, here’s a, here’s a little, I’ll make it quick. A story to illustrate that my wife and I started flipping houses in oh eight.
Mike Simmons (16:23):
We were a team and we worked at it together at the time. And we decided because our friends and family, there are no entrepreneurs on the horizon when I was growing up. Like none of my friends, none of my family, nobody I associated with, nobody was an entrepreneur. And if you remember back in 2008, for most people, that was a really bad time for real estate. And in the way that the media was covering it, the media was screaming. Real estate prices are dropping, run to the Hills. It’s all horrible. So for me to tell my friends and family, I’m going to start investing in real estate. It’s like if the stock market crashes, everyone goes, oh, don’t but that’s the time to invest, frankly. So we started doing, we started flipping houses and we were getting a little bit of traction. We were doing some good stuff and I got some really good advice early on from some people in like a local RIA.
Mike Simmons (17:09):
And one of the pieces of advice I got was you should, at the time it was called a Facebook business page, right. But you should start a Facebook business page and just document your journey, put a videos about before and after videos of houses and what you’re doing. And just kind of be transparent, which is kind of a Gary V thing, right back in 2008, like this document, don’t worry about creating this great stuff, just document. And we did. And by doing that, um, and by the way, we didn’t do it in our personal names. We did it in a business name. So nobody would necessarily find us, but the local newspaper. And when I say local, the biggest newspaper in Michigan, the Detroit free press and evening news reached out to me and said, Hey, we’re doing this article on local house, flippers we’d to come and interview you.
Mike Simmons (17:50):
Is it okay? If would you be interested? I’m like, sure. And I know how this works, right? They come in to interview me. It may or may not show up. And if it does show up, it’s on page, like the back page of some section, no one’s ever going to read, but we were doing like, you know, we were dealing with four or five, six houses a year. We were kind of moving along a little bit. So this article comes out. I didn’t even realize it came out as a Sunday edition of the paper, by the way, the most read newspaper, you know, the most red day of the week, I was at my parents’ house and we get a phone call. My mom gets a phone call and I hear her go, what? They’re in the newspaper for what? And I’m like, oh no, it came out.
Mike Simmons (18:26):
I forgot all about that. We were front page, full color article, my wife and I on the front page. It was, it was a huge article, ridiculously large. And that’s how my friends and family and coworkers all found out that I was doing real estate. Like that was how we got out. And we were so afraid of people knowing we were already kind of becoming a little bit successful in, in making money. And we were kind of doing a really good job, but we didn’t even realize it until that thing came out. And everyone’s like, you know, told us, did you just start? And we’re like, no, we’ve been doing it for two years. And we’ve already flipped like 15 houses or, you know, it was like, it was crazy the way come on. We didn’t even tell our kids by the way. And our kids at the time, uh, this is 2010.
Mike Simmons (19:07):
Our kids were like, you know, between seven and 13, like they were old enough to know what we were doing. But we were almost like cheating on our kids. Like we would go out and go, Hey, we’re going to run to the store. We go look at a house. Like we were really telling anybody, well, first of all, kids, aren’t good secret gatekeepers anyways. Right? You can’t tell a ten-year-old something and expect them not to tell anybody else. So we like kept it all a big secret until we were in the paper. And that’s how everyone found out. Like that’s how afraid we were critically and it’s crippling. And it was, it was, it was counterproductive because what I’ve since realized was, you know, you start telling people what you’re doing and just like share it. Like people will come out of the woodwork who want to be involved.
Mike Simmons (19:43):
They want to help. Maybe they want to help it and they want to invest or they want to loan money. Like there’s a lot of advantages to being kind of a little more out in the open about what you’re doing. But we were so afraid in the beginning, we were afraid because we thought if someone tells us we’re stupid or we’re making a mistake, it might keep us from pushing forward. Right. So we needed to get some momentum before we had people telling us how stupid we were. We needed to be shown. We weren’t stupid. And we just sort of forgot to tell people, we just kept, we had the system of how we were doing. And we just like had this weird secret. And that’s how it came out. That’s so
Reed Goossens (20:14):
Funny that it was, it’s not funny, it’s it is. Sounds like it was crippling for you because didn’t even tell your kids. And I don’t even know how you get around the issue when you’re talking to your parents or how things going, you know, like, um, it’s, it sounds so counter-intuitive, but I would imagine as soon as you, the, the, the shackles are taken off, that things would have just felt so freeing. Right. And people would have just been so much more supportive and, and probably patio on the back more so than what you were afraid of, which is only in your own mind,
Mike Simmons (20:40):
A hundred percent. It was in our heads. Nobody would have done anything. I don’t know. They might’ve said, Hey, that sounds, Ooh, that’s scary. I don’t know. But nobody would have said you’re stupid like that. Nobody would’ve deterred us. It was in all, in our head, totally in our head. And honestly, by keeping it a secret like that, we had to do a little bit of damage control because my wife and I have some really close friends, so we didn’t tell. And they’re like, they weren’t mad, but they were like, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me, why would you not tell me? It’s like, I thought we were good friends, you know? And it’s like, so we had to do some damage control, but it was all good in the end. I mean, everyone understood, you know, as much as you can and they laugh about it, but I’ll tell you what my parents.
Mike Simmons (21:14):
So that was like in 2010, I started in 2008. I didn’t quit my full-time job until 2012, I think. And by then I had really, we had really had some serious success and I took my parents out for dinner. And I remember still, and at the time, uh, 2012, I was like 42. And I took my parents out and I said, listen, um, and dad, this is what I’m doing. And they knew I had a really good paying job. And I said, this is, this is what I’m doing. I’m quitting my job. And my dad’s reaction was you’re making a mistake like that was his he’s he can’t, he just, you know, he’s, uh, he worked at Ford. He was a tool and die guy, like just union factory, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, kind of a mentality. He just could not conceive of not having that security.
Mike Simmons (22:01):
Right. And, and actually after I left my job, there was huge layoffs. Like I might’ve lost my job after I, but shortly after I decided to quit anyway. So anyways point being everyone would have been fine, but sometimes parents are just, they’re just parents. They want what’s best for you. And they think they’re protecting you. And if that’s the case, you have to do what you’re going to do. You can’t live your parents’ life. Like they, you know, they they’re living their life. You gotta live your life and all the fears that you have. And every, every fear I had about flipping houses and getting involved, completely unwarranted, like completely. I wish I would’ve known that five years earlier. Well,
Reed Goossens (22:36):
There’s I say hindsight 20, 20, right? They just look, you look back and you think what if all this sort of changed? But I think that’s a great segue into what you’re doing today, because a lot has changed since then. You’ve built this incredible business. So what is today look like in your day, in your life right
Mike Simmons (22:51):
Now? Yeah, so a day in my life now, I don’t flip houses exclusively anymore. I do quite a bit of wholesaling as well. And I have a little, uh, rental portfolio that I I’m just kind of growing it organically. I’m not really aggressively growing that matter of fact, I’ve sort of stopped. I put the brakes on that because I believe we’re about to come into a time that will be similar to 2008, 2009, totally different reasons. But I think we’re going to see a little bit of a correction and there’ll be some house prices that’ll drop. So I’m actually kind of, I’m sort of hoarding cash right now, actually to get in position, to be able to buy up as many properties as possible in the next 12 to 18 months. But my business nowadays, like early on, I ran around, did everything. Like I had no systems early in the early days I bought everything.
Mike Simmons (23:33):
I was at home Depot all the time. I was running out to sites. Now I have a team, you know, I’m doing a lot of wholesaling and doing some flipping. So I’ve got a marketing team. I have a phone team that answers calls a lot. My marketing generates calls. So the inbound calls go to a live person who works for me. I have a sales team. I have folks go out and talk to homeowners who are in some sort of distress or in a situation where they need to sell their house, maybe for cash for various reasons. And then we have something called dispositions. And it’s a, a gentleman in my company who takes the purchase agreements that we get from the homeowners, from the sellers and markets that, that purchase agreement out to a list of buyers that I have, uh, local buyers who are looking for houses to either flip or buy as a landlord.
Mike Simmons (24:16):
And that I have a transaction team who works with title companies and a bookkeeper who keeps it all straight because I realized one thing about us entrepreneurs. Most of us, we are not detailed people. We’re not good at details. And if I don’t have a bookkeeper, I will know what’s going on. So my bookkeeper gives me a P on that P and L and a balance sheet. And they make sure that, um, everything is accounted for, because I’m really good about spending money, using credit cards, shifting money from accounts to accounts. And I don’t keep track of anything. So I’ll, if I move, if I move $1 from one account to another, and I don’t tell my bookkeeper, I’ll get a text within a half an hour. So what was that $1 for? So that’s, to me, that’s, that’s the most beautiful tax then she’s always like, I’m sorry to bother you. I hate to be, I hate to nag. I’m like, no, like, you don’t know how happy I get when, when you’re like a goalie, like nothing gets past you. If I spend a dollar and I don’t tell you what it is, you’re asking me what it is. I love that. I need that. So if you don’t have a bookkeeper and you’re kind of growing your business, you’re doing yourself a disservice, unless you are a bookkeeper by trade, or you just love, love, love tracking numbers. Uh, you need a bookkeeper. It’s definitely a critical member.
Reed Goossens (25:18):
So talk to me about how you’ve scaled the business, because you’ve written a whole book on about it. Um, and that’s what you’re really passionate about today, teaching others about how you scale. So do you want to start there? Because I know even in myself, even with my business, I mentioned earlier, when you start operating at certain levels, you, you bring in people and I’ve scaled my business as well, but there also comes a time where you, you, you bring on that extra person, then you start flying higher, flying faster. And then all of a sudden you’re like, oh, like I just, I just got back from my week in Texas where my properties are. And I, you know, we’re looking to hire a couple of underwriters, but you know, it’s quarterly reports due this week. It’s, you know, a lot of other things we’re looking at new deals, we’ve got new investment partners coming on, like looking at the P and L balance sheets. All this was up. It feels very overwhelming at times where you’re just like, even when you have growing a business. So there’s never not a time where you got to take an opportunity to pause and say, what am I doing? Right. And what I’m doing wrong. I think, you know, it’s great to get started scaling, but there’s also, you can’t not stop you. Can’t not stop stopping to then say, Hey, what’s happening now? Why do I feel burnt out today? Because I’ve grown this business to such to such an extent.
Mike Simmons (26:23):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great question. And, and like flipping, I made so many mistakes when I started scaling my business because I was all horsepower and I really didn’t understand how to scale or how to lead people. So one of the biggest problem, I think people have, I, if I could point to the number one thing that is the reason why people fail when they try to scale their business. It’s because listen, all of us start this business as a solo preneur. Right? Very few of us start with a team in place. And this big engine that’s just running, right? So we start as a solopreneur. We start off by herself and what do we do? We get really good at finding deals. We get really good at locking up contracts. We get really good at, let’s just say, if depending on what you’re doing on hiring and managing contractors and renovation operations, you get really, really good at all that stuff.
Mike Simmons (27:13):
And sometimes you get good because you just spend a lot of time figuring it out. Sometimes you get help, you get mentors or whatever it is, right. But you spend a lot of time getting good at that. And then the skill that you need to scale your business is none of those skills. You need the skill of hiring training, uh, motivating and inspiring those people who are now doing those things. So it’s like the example that I I’ve given in the past, I was in the automotive industry, worked in the automotive industry for a number of years. And I saw these automotive companies make the exact same mistake over and over again. What they’ll do is they’ll go into a department like the engineering department, and they’ll, they’ll take the most talented engineer and they’ll, they’ll pluck him or her out and go, we’re going to make you the engineering manager as a reward for being the best engineer we have.
Mike Simmons (28:01):
And a lot of times that fails because that engineer is a really good engineer. They’re not a good manager. They’re not a good leader. They don’t have the skillset for that. There, they have the skillset to actually do the work. And we become good at quote, doing the work. We become operators within our company. And then we think that that transition from just being an operator, to like being a leader is going to be easy and seamless. But it’s not, it’s a totally different thing to hire, train and motivate people to do the job that you used to do yourself. And in fact, a lot of entrepreneurs are control freaks. So not only do we not, we’re not great leaders. Naturally. We want to do it. We think we can do it better than anybody else. So our inclination is to get back in the trenches and start doing the work.
Mike Simmons (28:43):
And we have to resist that. We have to understand that 80% of us is good enough. You don’t need to find someone who’s exactly like you. And I talk about this in my book. If you were, if your concern is that the people you hire won’t care as much about the company as you do. Let me tell you something. They won’t, they can’t, it’s not possible. It’s like saying I’m going to hire a babysitter for my kid, but I’m worried. They won’t love my kid as much as I do. They won’t, they can’t, it’s it’s your kid, but you just have to hope that they’ll take care of them well, enough to keep them happy and safe and they’ll do 80% of the time you would do, right? So your company’s the same. Nobody will love it. Like you do not incentivize the same way.
Mike Simmons (29:21):
Frankly, if I start a company and it becomes a $50 million company, the people who work for me are not incentivized. Like I am. So don’t expect that from them. So you have to spend the same amount of time and energy and maybe even money gaining the skills to be a good leader. And I wasn’t concerned with being a good leader. Here’s how I ran my team early. When I started scaling and hiring, I would say to them, metaphorically, this will be an American football reference. So hopefully I’m going to keep you with me, but I would say to them, listen, we’re on the five yard line. If you look 95 yards away is the goal line, right? I need you to get to that goal line and I don’t care how you do it. Just get there as fast as you can. And don’t tell me the details.
Mike Simmons (30:00):
Just do it right. That’s terrible. Like no coach does that. There are plays. There is, uh, there is a, you know, a plan of action to get there. So that’s your process. And that’s the one thing that I can say. One of the three things that I want to talk about, about scaling that people don’t think about when you’re a solopreneur, a solo operator, whatever you want to call it, you know how you do what you do in your business. And for a lot of us, it’s in our head. We’re not writing it down so that we can have a manual to follow. We don’t need it. It’s all up here. Right? So we just do it. We just do it. We get really good at it. But when you start bringing people onto your team, you can’t just go, we’ll just go find properties and get them under contract.
Mike Simmons (30:35):
Like they need to know how to do that. They need some kind of direction. What’s the process. What is our system for doing that? So before you start hiring, you need to start jotting down your system. Now here’s what I did. When I started writing down my processes and systems, I thought I needed a full-blown manual, like a thick manual with video and all these things. And so I started creating this book that I’m not detailed. I just said that most entrepreneurs aren’t. So I put it off. I procrastinate, I didn’t do it. And I could never get this manual together. And if I did put together a section of it, I would be so detailed that by the time I finished it, it was kind of outdated because it’s a growing company. I wasn’t following that procedure the same way as I was six months ago when I started it.
Mike Simmons (31:16):
So what I tell people is if you don’t have a procedure and you don’t have your systems documented, start documenting them and just do it almost like bullet point, like we call it like a flight checklist, like, uh, you know, someone who’s going to like do a checklist to check up. And before it takes off, they don’t have like paragraphs and like 500 pages they have to read. It’s a checklist. So create checklists for your company. So when you bring people in and you can say, here’s the checklist, here’s what your job entails. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And then as they get acclimated and start working, they can help you fill out the details of that process, right? So you just need to create a checklist for your people. So, number one, for me, I had no system and no process that was documented.
Mike Simmons (31:56):
So when I brought people in, they didn’t know what to do and they were failing and I was blaming it on them when I wasn’t giving them the tools to succeed. So that’s number one, number two. I didn’t know my numbers. When I started trying to scale my business, I knew money was coming in. I knew money was going out. I had no clue if I was making money or losing money. I just knew there was some flow, but I didn’t know for sure. Cause it was before I had a bookkeeper the only night in my life and listen, I’m, I’m 50 now. Right? So hopefully that doesn’t like, turn everyone down off like this guy’s old. I don’t wanna listen to, but I I’ve never suffered a sleepless night in my life. I’m one of those lucky people that I sleep like a baby through good times and bad I’ve, I’ve been through a lot and I’ve never lost sleep.
Mike Simmons (32:36):
Only one time in my life that I lost sleep. One time, it was uh, about five years into my business. And my CPA called me with a very, very reasonable question. He said, Mike, last year, how many houses did you take title to? Did you actually take possession of, even if it was for five minutes, like you do a double closing, I just need to know how many you took possession of no matter how long it was. And I had no idea and worse. I had no system or process that would tell me how I, how I could figure this out. So I’m calling title companies going, can you tell me how many properties I took? Like it was crazy, right? So I know your numbers know how much money you’re spending on Martin here. Listen, here’s some high level numbers. If you’re like, I don’t know numbers attract.
Mike Simmons (33:21):
You need more than this, but let me just give you this as a starting point. If you’re, whether you’re a house flipper or wholesaler, doesn’t matter a landlord. If you’re doing any sort of lead generation that you spend money for, you need to know how much money you’re spending on that. How many calls or form fills or inquiries do you get from that marketing effort? Right? So how much money am I spending? How many calls or inquiries am I getting? How many appointments am I setting? How many contracts am I getting and how much money do I make per contract, right? That is the most basic. Like I call them island numbers. If I’m on a, on a desert or a secluded island and no one’s there and someone’s going, give me the numbers. I need to know how my business is doing. Those are the numbers I need mostly, right?
Mike Simmons (34:04):
Because if I know how much money I’m spending to generate in a call to generate our appointment, to get a contract, and then what are my contracts worth? I can reverse engineer that. Okay. If I know that, and I know my average contract is a hundred thousand dollars just to use good, easy round math. And, and I’m doing X amount of marketing, but I want to get to a million. I need to 10 X, my marketing, right? And then theoretically, I’m going to get to a million dollar. So knowing that, but if I don’t know any of the numbers and someone says, Hey, let’s, let’s build this thing to a million dollars. I don’t even know what to do because I don’t know what’s working. What’s not. And for marketing, you probably going to have different channels. So I need to know is direct mail.
Mike Simmons (34:38):
How much money is that making for me, what’s my ROI on direct mail, right? What’s my ROI on PPC. What’s my ROI on, you know, bandit signs or whatever you’re doing in your business. Like you need to know your numbers. That’s number two, number three. And this was probably the most difficult thing, uh, for me to, to wrap my mind around. And I touched on it and number one, where I said processes and systems, it was hiring. I really thought that I was too small to hire my business was too small, not physically, too small. I was, my business was too small to hire, but I knew that I couldn’t become the business. I wanted to be on my own. And I knew to get to the business I wanted to be, I had to hire, but I’m too small to hire, but I can’t get big unless I hire.
Mike Simmons (35:17):
And you can see it’s like this circular logic that sort of is self-defeating. So what I learned was I need to start building a team sooner rather than later, for most people, if you’re listening to this and going, yeah, I’ve been thinking for about six months, I may be need to start hiring. Chances are you should have started six months ago, or maybe even a year ago. You’re probably really, really late. But the reality is I thought I needed to have all this cashflow and all this reserves to hire people. But the fact of the matter is the first person I hired was a salesperson. Why did I hire a sales person first? Oh, let me tell you, because I know that the most important thing to hire for when you’re trying to decide where to start pick the task that you are the worst at, that you suck at and focus on that because of you’re bad at it.
Mike Simmons (36:00):
Chances are you’re procrastinating. Chances are, you’re a little bit of a bottleneck and that’s where your company is suffering and that’s where you should start. So for me, it was sailed when I would get a call from my marketing. Here’s what I would do. I would see the call come in. It came through a separate line that I got. It was as a Google number. I had, it came through a separate line. I would see it and I would go, ah, I don’t want to answer this. I don’t feel like talking to this person. And I would watch it until it went to voicemail and I’d go good. It went to voicemail. And so problem, number one, I let a call go to voicemail. You should not do that. When you’re spending money on marketing and a call comes in, that person wants to talk to somebody.
Mike Simmons (36:35):
Cause they called don’t let it go to voicemail. Number two, I wouldn’t return the voicemail right away. I would wait a day or two before I returned it because I didn’t like, I didn’t like that sales process. So then I, Richard, turn the call and I’d go on the appointment. And sometimes I had to get a contract. Sometimes I wouldn’t. I hired a sales guy. He was answering calls for me. So now I don’t care how much marketing I’m doing because I’m not answering the calls. Anyways, as somebody who likes doing it’s doing it, he’s answering calls. He was going on appointments for me. Okay. If I were to get five appointments set for me, or if I were to set five appointments for myself on average, I would get one contract that was sort of my, my number. Right, right. When I hired a sales guy, he will go on five appointments.
Mike Simmons (37:12):
He would get two to three contracts. That was his average. 2.5 contracts was his average right now in real estate, our contracts and our deals. Like we’re not talking, you know, 50 cents. We’re not building widgets here. Right? Are our margins are like 10, 20, 30, $50,000. So imagine if I’m missing out on two to four deals a month, like that’s big money that I was leaving on the table. So having him absolutely paid for himself, but let me rewind. How did I afford to hire by the way, this guy who was, who I hired in sales, he w he was formerly a pharmaceutical salesperson, no real estate experience, but he was the regional top salesperson for his pharmaceutical company. Okay. He was making over six figures when he was working for them. And they were sending him to Hawaii. As I hired him, they were sending him a Hawaii because he was their top Salesforce.
Mike Simmons (38:01):
And they were, he was literally getting awards from this company for being so great. Now, how do I hire such a rockstar sales person? Here’s how I did it. He wasn’t, he wasn’t on the road sales person, but it was a local route. Right? So he visited all the doctors in our, in our like tri county area. So it was on the road sales and he was so good at what he did, that he had a lot of downtime. He just had time during his day. And he reached out to me actually. And he’s like, Hey, I want to work for you. I want to learn real estate. I have tons of downtime. I’ll take the calls. I’ll go on the appointments and you don’t even have to pay me. Okay. Now I could have taken that deal. But I didn’t. I said, here’s the thing.
Mike Simmons (38:37):
You seem to be really good. Let’s do this. Instead of me not paying you, I’ll pay you commission. We, I close on a deal and I, I monetize it, right? Like you get the contract and we close and we make money. I’ll pay you a commission off of that sale. So I never paid him unless he literally put money in my bank account. That’s how I started my hiring process. Now, how much money does it take to do that? Zero. I didn’t have to pay him until I got paid. Right? So that’s how I started. And you can be creative. You don’t need to hire a bunch of W2 employees that have these base salaries and your barrier business. Cause you don’t want to bury your business when you’re scaling. But there’s plenty of people out there there’s VA’s you can hire a VA is like, there’s a lot of ways that you can hire folks, very inexpensively or pure commission where they only make money when you make money.
Mike Simmons (39:20):
And by the way, he didn’t quit his job right away. He worked for me for eight months before he quit his job and started working for me full time. He was just really good. He could do both with no problem. It was only when my company started scaling up that he had to make a choice. So that’s how I did it when I started. So hiring people was a huge hurdle for me. You need to start building your team. Okay? But don’t think that means money out of pocket every month, necessarily you need to track your numbers and understand your numbers. And you need to create a system, your systems and processes. You need to document that as bad as it might be, because you might even be saying, I don’t have a system. I don’t have processes. Yeah, you do. They’re just really bad because you haven’t even thought about them to know that you have a process. When you get a contract, like, what do you do first? What do you do? Second? Just start writing it down. You can improve it as you go, but you need something to help people that you bring on to understand how to work.
Reed Goossens (40:09):
I think a lot in there is when you are documenting processes, I use a thing called loom L O M. It’s a screen-share. It can take a picture of your face as well, but share your screen. I do it particularly around I’m actually in, COVID studying. COVID a bit more time on my hands. I actually started documenting the ways in which I underwrite deals. So I can now pass it off to a full time underwriter. And there was like three hours of video, right? It’s like, have you watched those three there’s seven there’s seven tutorials that I’ve done, you know, but it’s, they’re easy ways of doing it. And that can document that all you have to do, like I’m not a writing type of guy. I’m like, here’s a video. I just credited look at it. Yeah.
Mike Simmons (40:45):
I do the same thing, man. It’s all video for me. I don’t write anything. Cause people know, even on my phone, if I text you, I have spoken the text, Dan, and let it do voice to text. I hate, I hate typing. I hate to next thing where the passion. So I, I voice everything you write. So I do videos. That’s exactly how I create. I don’t do it as much in my company now. But when I do have to be on video to explain something, I mean, when I do have to create a system, it’s always video.
Reed Goossens (41:06):
Yeah. How do you, how do you learn to defy yourself? Because I think that’s a bit, another big mental hurdle. A lot of people face including myself. When you’ve got to learn to, to that, someone else can do your job better because you know, you mentioned before the babysitter analogy, no, they’re not gonna love your kid. Like you love him. Of course you’re not. But how do you make sure that you’re still got the trains on the tracks and you still moving forward with the right people behind the wheel and you might be back in first class and you’re kicking back in and relaxing a little bit more.
Mike Simmons (41:34):
There’s two questions in there. How do I know that they’re performing and the wheels are falling off versus yeah. How do I let go? Right. It’s two different things. So I’ll attack the first one first. Cause it’s easier. How do I, I know it’s all working is so when I say track your numbers and I said, no much money. You’re spending a marketing, know how many calls you generating? How many appointments and all that, right? Those are, those are like lagging. I call them. But those are, those are things that tell you whether or not you did a good job last week, your last month. But we also track activity metrics. Okay? Activity metrics could be like, let’s just say for my sales team, how many cold calls did you make? How many appointments did you go on? Because if I track and if I measure activity in my company, activity leads to results.
Mike Simmons (42:20):
It just does. Right? You don’t necessarily know right off the bat, how much activity leads to how much results, but all you need is some data points behind you to know, like we made a hundred cold calls this month and we got one deal, right? The second month we made a hundred cold calls. We got one deal. What if we make 200 cold calls? Should we get two deals? I would think so. Right? And then as you go every month, your metrics and your numbers get smarter and smarter and smarter because you have more data points. So to answer your question a little more clearly we track activity. Everybody in my company has what we, one number where they have one number they’re responsible for on a weekly basis, right there, four more numbers. But in our meet, in our weekly meeting with the team, we report one number and you can call it the north star number.
Mike Simmons (43:04):
You can call it the ma the one thing. But we, we follow a book called traction by Gino Wickman. It’s how we run our business. It’s basically, it’s a very simple model. That’s laid out in this book of how to run an organization. And within traction, they talk about everybody in your team has numbers. They’re responsible for, and there’s more than one, but there’s only one that they report every week. And the idea behind that is if everything goes off the rails, if they start losing focus, if they’re getting distracted, they don’t really like, sometimes your employees just don’t know what to do first, they don’t know what’s important that number that they have to report on Monday morning, or whenever you do your team meeting, that is their guiding light. As long as they know what they have to do to hit that number, then everything can be going crazy and it still gives them some focus.
Mike Simmons (43:50):
So everyone reports one number and it’s always an activity number. It’s not a, it’s not a lag indicator. I don’t necessarily want to know what we did. That was successful. I wonder what you did. That’s going to help me know at the end of the month, at the end of the quarter, at the end of the year that we’re going to hit our numbers. So I say, create a, uh, an activity metric or metrics that you expect your team to follow. That’s how we do it. But, but as far as how to let go, that’s a mindset thing, man, that’s hard. I can’t give you a spreadsheet or a tool. You have to do it. Now. One thing that I have going for me and I have a lot of things, not going for me, I’m just an average person with all kinds, kinds of drawbacks and I’m not perfect.
Mike Simmons (44:26):
But one thing I do have that aids me a lot in this endeavor is I’m very to let go, especially when I don’t enjoy what it is I’m letting go of. So like my bookkeeper was blown away. How quickly I let her into QuickBooks and gave her access to my accounts. Like I like letting go of things because I know I’m an ideal person. I’m a visionary. I’m not a good, like COO. I’m not an operations person at heart. I do it if I have to. But if I’m the one who’s like creating systems and processes and holding people accountable to them and managing people, eventually the wheels will fall off because I get bored doing that. I like building, I like looking out at the horizon and deciding where the next strategic move is. I like that. I don’t like managing people on a day-to-day basis.
Mike Simmons (45:13):
So I’m very quick to give that stuff away. And at times it’s bitten me. I’ve given it away to people who weren’t really great. And, and I had to take a step back to take another step forward. It’s part of the, it’s part of the deal, right? When you start hiring people, like if you’re afraid of hiring, because you don’t ever want to have to fire, get over it, you’re going to have to fire. If you start hiring, you will eventually have to fire. So it’s just part of it. But you know, there’s a way to do that too. There’s a way to do it where it’s a little bit more, uh, respectful and reasonable. You don’t strike you. Don’t string people because usually if you know someone isn’t a good fit, the longer you hold onto them, the more of a deceiver service you’re doing to them, you need to end it so they can go find something that they’re a better fit for. And you need to end it for everyone else on your team. Who’s probably suffering as a result of having this person in the team. You gotta, you gotta let them go. And if you do it the right way, it’s, you know, everyone can be fine.
Reed Goossens (46:03):
Well, I love what you said there about the whole. When you think about something, I remember having to fire a property manager. At one point I was asking, you know, we had a big, got a big portfolio and someone said to me, as soon as you thought about it, it’s too late. And it’s what you said earlier. It’s like, as soon as you thinking about employing someone it’s probably too late, you probably should’ve already started. As soon as you thinking about firing that person, it’s probably too late. You know what I mean? So all those things it’s learning to trust your gut, learning, to trust your intuition, your sixth sense, whatever your, your spidey sense, um, to make sure that you you’re making the right decisions for your business. Um, Michael would only be very respectfully, Tom, we’re coming to the end of the show. Before we dive into the top five investing tips, the lightning round one last question. What does 2020 have in store for you now being a bit of a weird year, but what, what do you got going on, um, that you’re looking forward to?
Mike Simmons (46:47):
Yeah, that’s a good question. So for my, for my main real estate company, we, you know, we’re kind of in where I’m at. We got hit with, COVID pretty hard, a lot of restrictions. So we’re kind of coming out of that. Now. I, you know, direct mail was a big a workhorse for me over the last five years. And it took a little bit of a hit at the beginning of the year. We just weren’t getting the results. We’re starting to get those results again. So I like the rebound effect. I’m probably not going to do as many deals as this year as I did last year, but I’m totally fine with that because what this year did do for me is it made me leaner and it made my company really more profitable, honestly, because we, we, we scaled back in some places and we got more efficient.
Mike Simmons (47:23):
So that was a good thing. I’m excited about that. Um, we, I have an event that seven figure flipping group, I’m a part of, you mentioned at the beginning of the show, we have a big event that’s coming up this week. So people listening at this point, it’s already gone, but that’s something that I’m really focused on. I love helping people grow their business and in some cases start their business. I know for me, when I got started, I could have shortcut my learning a lot by surrounding myself with the right people. And I didn’t do that early on for two reasons. Number one, I was stubborn. I thought I could figure it out myself. And number two, I’m an introvert by nature. So I like doing for people, what being around the right folks did for me and, and helping people grow their businesses and sharing some of the stuff that we talked about today.
Mike Simmons (48:02):
Like, how do you scale? Like, what do you do to scale your company? I like helping people with that stuff. So that’s a big focus for me the rest of this year and going forward. And then this is like a little bit off the beaten path, or maybe it’s a little bit off subject, but I just, this year I started, I, um, uh, like a, a lending company, a private hard money lending company. So I’m starting to get into that world, which is it’s fun because I just got done saying I like to build things and it makes me feel good because my company is sort of running. It doesn’t need me day to day. And so I get bored and I need to do something. And this is a good, like vertical integration. I know a lot of folks who need money. And so I just, I’ve created a company to kind of help people, build their businesses, help them lend the money.
Mike Simmons (48:42):
They need to start those flips or buy those properties. And that’s a whole different arena for me. I borrowed money from a lot of people. I borrowed millions and millions and millions of dollars. But now being on the other side as a lender, it’s a whole different ball game, but I’m enjoying it. I like it. I like underwriting people’s properties and, you know, making sure it’s a good deal because I think honestly, lenders help new investors stay out of trouble. If I, if you, if you can’t borrow the money from anybody that hopefully because of no one will underwrite your deal, that might be a bad deal. You might want to take another look at it. Right.
Reed Goossens (49:10):
Right. Awesome. Well, love it, man. Look at the end of every show, we’d love to get into the top five investing tips there, five lightning round questions. You ready to dive into it? Let’s do it, man. What is it that your daily habits that you practice to keep on track to we’ll do a goals
Mike Simmons (49:24):
Daily habit. I keep I, so man, I’m going to really show my age. I have a whiteboard in my office. Love it. I keep the most important top of mind. Things that I absolutely have to get down on my whiteboard. Cause I see it every time I walk in electronics can be left behind notebooks can be left behind whatever that, that whiteboard is always in my face. And so I write stuff on a whiteboard that I know I have to get done.
Reed Goossens (49:47):
Love it, love it. I think writing the art of writing it down. And for me, you say being old school, I’ve got my notepad here and I burned through these. I’ve got like 50 of them. Uh, and I, the, the thing with me is like today, you can’t really see it on the screen, but Monday I’ve already crossed out four, five major things I needed to get done today. And that the art of crossing it out is just so important, important in my, in my mind. But also with the whiteboard, it’s the writing it down. It’s getting out of your head. It’s giving some clarity in your mind getting the junk out of your head so you can think about, okay, whatever. Now I’ve got to go do to accomplish those five things of is written down. So love it. Love it. Question two is who’s the most influential person in your career to date?
Mike Simmons (50:26):
Uh, most importantly person in my career has been, he’s a guy, his name’s Andy, Andy McFarland. He, he actually took the most time and gave me the most valuable information that I needed at the time I needed it about five years ago. So if you look at my company’s growth trajectory, it sorta was slow and steady until like 2015. And then it skyrocketed, right? That’s the whole basis of my book. How do I do in a year? Well, I met a guy named Andy and through what he told me and my own hard work. Like I turned everything around and it became a highly profitable, very large business, like fast because of him and I give him the credit. Awesome.
Reed Goossens (51:03):
A lot of question. I’m curious. What is the most influential tool in your business on a daily basis? When I say tool, it could be a physical tool, like a phone or your whiteboard, or it could be a piece of software that you use it. You cannot run the business without what is it?
Mike Simmons (51:17):
All right. I’ll give you two because the one of them is unavailable to everybody. So this piece of software I have, I created it. It’s an app that I created this year. Um, and it was born from my frustration of not having a good pro uh, project management slash to-do list that I could find any other app, everyone I used, I never, it never worked for me. And so I designed my own from the ground up and had it developed and made it’s it’s in beta. Nobody can get it right now anyway, but I use that. I love it. It’s changed my life. Um, hopefully it’d be available soon. I’ll come back on and talk about it. Maybe. Um, aside from that, probably the most, the biggest difference for me is my whiteboard. I know, again, it sounds so horrible and lame, but having a whiteboard up for me, I use it so actively throughout the day that it, like you said, I’m writing it down. It’s big. I don’t write small on a whiteboard. Like I have two huge whiteboards and I write in like five inch letters because I want it to like scream at me. And I’m like, listen, I’m a, I’m a distractible guy. I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve got a million things happening. I need something to really scream at me throughout the day. And
Reed Goossens (52:21):
It’s one of those things where when you have a whiteboard and then you’re walking into the office, it’s subconsciously there. You can see he wrote it down and I truly love it. I think it’s, it’s quite, that tool is very influential for those people out there. Don’t have a whiteboard get one and put it in your office, put your goals in there, put something with it, but get it out of the mind, get it onto paper or onto the whiteboard. So, awesome stuff. A question before, in one sentence, what has been the biggest failure in your career? What’d you learn from that failure?
Mike Simmons (52:46):
The biggest failure in my career? Um, it’s a great question. Probably the biggest failure in my career was expecting everyone to know what I wanted without properly training them. I really screwed that up hard and I there’s a lot of opportunity costs that Legon left on the table. And a lot of people that probably didn’t need to be let go because I had bad expectations cause I expect them to read my mind. And that was horrible.
Reed Goossens (53:10):
Um, I remember one time, my first of a virtual assistant, uh, $4 from India and he stuffed up a few things and it’s actually the reflection of not his ability, but my ability to explain it. And as soon as I’m cremated, I spent longer writing an email, like sort of what you’re talking about earlier about I’ll just do it myself. It’s gonna take me 20 minutes to write this email screenshots. And that’s where I found loom and that’s where I got quicker. But after doing it so, so much detail he’s, then it’s be credit an asset for my business because I can always come back to him and say, remember that thing you did. Yeah, well I’ve now documented it in one email and you know how to do it really well. And so I’m going to keep asking you to do it again and again again, but it was boiled down to my lack of clarity and lack of him, understanding what I wanted through the explanation. That’s why he failed it. Wasn’t got anything to do with him as a person. It was me explaining it to him. So it was really my failure. So I think it’s, it’s really important being self-aware of that in any growth of any business when you are trying to delegate and give out tasks, because it’s a reflection of how well you communicate on a percent of the day, but last question, where can people reach you to continue the conversation they want to be in your sphere? Where do they go?
Mike Simmons (54:14):
Um, probably two places really easy. First of all, just our real estate. You mentioned at the beginning, you can, you can email me a Mike at just our real estate, or you can just go to Mike simmons.com to see everything I’m a part of. And then, uh, you know, just as like a, a gift for getting all the way to the end of this episode and listening to me, drone on, uh, I did write a book and I can, you can go to Amazon and pick it up. It’s called level jumping. But if you want to get a digital version of it downloaded for free, um, I can make it easy for you. Just text the words, just start to the number 5, 5, 4, 4, 4. So it’s two words though, just start 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, and I’ll get you a free digital download of the entire book. Love
Reed Goossens (54:51):
It. Might level. Go on to thank you so much for jumping on the shadows where I reflect the feelings I took away from today’s show. I think first and foremost would start to me is your ability, even as a, maybe what some people would think a later in life entrepreneur, but you still went out and did it. When you had to, you know, you had two kids, you went back to school, you got into, you got more, a bigger degree. You’re able to get more money. And in, through that, you’re able to push yourself to get out there and take action. It took a little wall, but like all of us, you eventually did it. And that’s the most important thing. So I bet you, you’re sitting here today looking back saying, I’m glad I took a bet on myself and I’m glad I went out and gave it a crack.
Reed Goossens (55:23):
I think that was the biggest thing that stood out for me. I think I also loved the fact that you’ve really understood what you’re good at in your skillset and then delegate really quickly for those things that you aren’t good at, but having the metrics in place to keep performance indicators that you can quickly check to make sure that the trains are on other, the wheels are on the train and you’re on the track. But so you then have time to go off and build other things like your lending company. So I think it’s a really, really awesome. Didn’t leave anything
Mike Simmons (55:47):
Out. No, that’s it, man. Everyone can do it. Listen. I’m I’m not special. Most of us aren’t right. We just executions everything. So get out there and do it. Don’t don’t wait around. Don’t do it. I did it. Don’t spend five years, you know, kind of sitting on the sidelines, get out there and go. Awesome,
Reed Goossens (56:01):
Buddy. Well, thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon. Iron
Reed Goossens (56:04):
Man. Thank you. Good day. Well,
Reed Goossens (56:06):
They have another cracking episode. Jam-packed some incredible stuff from Mike. Remember go to Mike simmons.com to check it, everything that he mentioned on today’s show. I want to thank you all again for taking some time out of your day to tune in, to continue to grow your financial IQ, because that’s, we’re all about on here on this show. And if you do like to show these as way to give back is to give it a like and a five star review on iTunes or wherever you podcast. And we’re going to do this all again. Next week’s remember be bold, be brave and go give life a crack.